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Archive for April 3rd, 2013

They Go A Long Way Back: Booker T., Bloodstone, One Way On Tap From Purpose Music Vaults

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One Way Feat. Al HudsonThe Vaults are open again!  And by The Vaults, I mean Purpose Music Vaults, the soul/R&B-focused label that launched late last year with a dynamic duo of reissues from Bobby Womack and Ronnie Dyson.  Our initial report also covered the label’s reissue of Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire, but delays kept the disco classic from arriving as scheduled.  Well, the good news is that Relight My Fire has finally been released to finer retailers everywhere!  The better news is that Purpose has announced a second slate of releases set for May 21.  And the best news?  Two of these titles can be YOURS TO WIN, two months before their street date!

Leading the Purpose pack is a release from Detroit’s One Way.  Formed in 1979 from the ashes of The Soul Partners, the members of One Way featuring Al Hudson proved themselves adept at both funky danceable numbers and romantic ballads.  All told, One Way scored five Top 10 R&B hits in the 1980s, and Purpose is celebrating the group’s legacy with a reissue of the self-titled One Way Featuring Al Hudson.  The original 1979 album’s six tracks (all clocking in over six minutes in length) have been augmented by four bonus tracks.  These include “Tonight” (previously unreleased in the U.S.) and single remixes of “You Can Do It,” “Music,” and “Now That I’ve Found You.”  All tracks have been remastered from the original tapes with the exception of the single remixes of “Music” and “Now That I’ve Found You” which have been sourced from vinyl.  (Big kudos to the team at Purpose for being up-front about this!)

Booker T - I Want YouStax legend Booker T. Jones joins One Way with his long out-of-print 1981 album for A&M Records, I Want You.  Following a side trip to Epic Records for 1974’s Evergreen, the songwriter/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist/producer returned to his A&M home.  I Want You followed Try and Love Again (1978) and The Best of You (1980), and featured Booker T. on vocals, guitar, clavinet and piano.  He wrote or co-wrote seven of the album’s eight tracks with collaborators such as Leon Ware and Michael Stokes, with the eighth song coming from the great Sam Dees.  Purpose’s reissue has been remastered from the original tapes, and includes two bonus tracks: a nearly eight-minute extended version of “Don’t Stop Your Love,” and the single edit of “I Want You.”

After the jump: you might be on a natural high with Purpose’s third upcoming reissue!  Plus, we’ve got information on how you can be a winner! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 3, 2013 at 12:40


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Written by Joe Marchese

April 3, 2013 at 12:34

Review: Mad Season, “Above: Deluxe Edition”

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Mad Season - AboveWhere was grunge, or alternative rock, in 1995?  Kurt Cobain had died one year earlier at his Seattle home.  Before 1995 was out, Alice in Chains had released its third album, the last with vocalist Layne Staley and also its final studio LP until 2009.  Foo Fighters, born from the ashes of Nirvana, scored a hit with its July debut, but by and large, the brief, blazing supremacy of grunge was ceding to other genres like post-grunge and Britpop.  Yet 1995 was the year in which Staley joined with Pearl Jam’s guitarist Mike McCready, Screaming Trees’ drummer-percussionist Barrett Martin and The Walkabouts’ John Baker Saunders to release Above, the only album by the grunge supergroup Mad Season.  Eighteen years later, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings have reinvigorated Above as a 2-CD/1-DVD Deluxe Edition (88725 47339 2), as well as a 12-inch 2-LP expanded vinyl edition and a digital version.

Above doesn’t stray far from the blueprint typically associated with so-called grunge albums.  Like the best of the genre, it removes all of the artifice once associated with hard rock in favor of a raw, “pure” sound.  The combo (vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer) is far from unusual.  The lyrics are expectedly dark and angst-ridden.  The sound is appropriately stripped-down.  One can practically hear the flannel shirts!  So why is Above being celebrated all these many years later?  The album affords another opportunity to evaluate the work of Layne Staley, who tragically died of a drug overdose in 2002.  He gifted Above with his only full set of original lyrics.  It also showcases his three bandmates in peak form, including Saunders, who fell victim to drugs in 1999.  Each member brought subtle touches, and crisp, tight interplay, to the somber, tense set of songs.  (Every track on the original album is credited to Staley for lyrics, and Mad Season for music, save “I’m Above” and “Long Gone Day,” with music by McCready, Martin and guest Mark Lanegan.)  Anguish is the thread which connects each of the album’s tracks, making Above an emotionally taxing but intermittently beautiful song cycle that veers from sadness to anger and back again.

Hit the jump to explore further! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 3, 2013 at 11:25

Posted in Mad Season, Reissues, Reviews

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Speaking Words of Wisdom: “Let It Be…Naked” Comes to iTunes

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One of the most significant catalogue-era releases by The Beatles – the newly-mixed Let It Be…Naked, a stripped-down version of the band’s final album – makes its debut on iTunes today.

The story of Let It Be is by now the stuff of music legend. Bassist Paul McCartney proposed an LP that stepped away from the complex, overdub-heavy works of their 1968 self-titled album (better known, of course, as “The White Album”). Provisionally titled Get Back, the sessions featured plenty of new songs overseen by longtime producer George Martin but plenty more tension as well; guitarist George Harrison temporarily quit the band during this time, and as a planned documentary by Michael Lindsay-Hogg captured, the once-blossoming collaboration between John Lennon and McCartney was nearly nonexistent.

The band ultimately shelved the sessions as compiled by engineer Glyn Johns and recorded Abbey Road, released in 1969. The resultant album, released in May of 1970, five months after Lennon’s unannounced departure and one month after Paul announced his departure and issued his own solo album, was still full of great works, including singles “Get Back,” the title track and “The Long and Winding Road” as well as “Across the Universe” and “Two of Us.”

LetItBeNakedBut, as McCartney would remind audiences consistently, one of his sorest contentions with the album was the decision to have producer Phil Spector remix the tracks for the finished album. Thus, in 2002 McCartney and a team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios restored, remastered and remixed the album into a fashion that hewed closer to Paul’s original vision. Released in 2003 to divisive reviews, Let It Be…Naked is nonetheless a captivating alternate account of the legendary band’s swan song.

And now, following the release of the band’s full studio album discography on iTunes, as well as the Love soundtrack and the Anthology seriesLet It Be…Naked will make its debut on the digital music service as a paid download and free streaming album. The set will feature a digital booklet replicating the physical album’s liner notes as well as the full contents of the “Fly on the Wall” bonus disc included with first pressings of the album. featuring a 22-minute sound collage of in-studio rehearsals and chatter. Videos for the “Naked” versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” are also available.

Let It Be…Naked (released as Apple 07243 595714 2 3 (U.K.), 2003)

  1. Get Back
  2. Dig a Pony
  3. For You Blue
  4. The Long and Winding Road
  5. Two of Us
  6. I’ve Got a Feeling
  7. One After 909
  8. Don’t Let Me Down
  9. I Me Mine
  10. Across the Universe
  11. Let It Be
  12. Fly on the Wall (bonus)

Original versions from Apple LP PXS 1 (U.K.), 1970

Written by Mike Duquette

April 3, 2013 at 11:21